Saturday, July 24, 2010

Youth Golf: Are You Prepared For Your First Loss To Your Kid?

Are you prepared for the first time when your kid legitimately defeats you in a serious game of skill. Losing at Candyland is one thing, but losing at golf or tennis or any other sport is another thing completely.

On Friday, my son wanted to tryout his new clubs. He talked his mom into playing a round of golf. They decided to play at the local public course where my son will play his golf team matches in the fall. If, of course, he is fortunate enough to make the team again.

My son shot his best ever score on the course and beat his mom for the first time ever. He beat her by 7 strokes.

On Saturday, my son wanted to show me how well he was hitting the ball and talked me into playing a round of golf. We decided to play at our club which is a very difficult and long course compared to the public course he played the day before. (White Tees 72.2 rating and 129 slope 5640 yards / I played the Gold Tees 71.8 rating 132 slope 6553 yards)

I am a golfer, but I am not very good. My handicap index is 19 which means I shoot between 90 and 100 but plenty good enough to beat some upstart kid. Right?

We were having a great time and he was hitting the ball really well. He loves his new Maxfli Varsity clubs. (See my post regarding these clubs.) Then my son, Nic, got hot. He got a par 5 on the long 4th hole, a par 3 on the 5th hole and lipped out a par putt on the 6th hole for a bogey, 5. He took the lead after 6 holes.

Feeling the pressure on the 7th tee, I popped the ball up and it landed on the ladies tee. (Embarrassing I know.)  I then tried to make up for this terrible drive by hitting my next shot as hard as I could. I hit it well, but OB. I was sitting 3 on the ladies tee while my son's 225 yard drive from the forward white tees was beautifully positioned in the middle of the fairway.

I composed myself and was not going to let him beat me. Not yet. I crushed a hybrid that jumped over his ball and rested 100 yards from the pin. He hit his next ball over the green into the water. I was bummed for him. I hit my approach shot 5 feet from the pin. He chipped it close. I sank my putt and he missed. We tied the hole at 6 each.

I ended up getting a birdie on 8 and a par on 9 to beat him by 3 strokes. Nic ended up with his best 9 ever on our club course and he was thrilled. What impressed me most was that he was rooting for me as much as I was rooting for him. I guess a son never wants to see his hero lose.

The Main Point

It seems like yesterday when I bought my son his first set of clubs, snoopy clubs. He was three. Ten years later he is ready to beat me. I am OK with that, but I am going to make him earn it. At the same time, I am going to get him / give him the instructions to do it.

I vividly remember a hot day in the summer of 1977, that is the day I beat my dad for the first time at tennis on a court in Clark, New Jersey. I was 13. It was the greatest feeling in the world. I don't think that I beat him again until several years later. I went on a business trip with him to Austria. We played tennis on a red clay court after one of his meetings. I beat him in our one and only international match. I still remind him that I am the family's international champion.

I recommend that you make your kid earn their first win. It will be so much more special.

1 comment:

  1. Nicky is coming on strong. Look out! He is a natural. When he was a little kid, I took him to the practice tees several times and he always amazed me!!

    I remember both those tennis outings well. When you knocked me off at age 13, I was really surprised and pleased. Over the next 7 years, I continued to play tennis weekly while you were into baseball and lacrosse. So I thought that it would be business as usual in Austria. Not so, I remember almost busting a gut (mine and the racket's) to win. You were too much for me and our family's international champion! I know that you will always remind me of that.




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